Independent Stave Co., a manufacturer of oak barrels and cooperage products, announced Thursday (April 14) it will construct a mill in Batesville to produce staves for bourbon and wine barrels. The company, which is the largest barrel maker in the world, will invest more than $30 million in the facility and create approximately 60 new jobs.
“This has been an exciting time as we continue to invest in our current and new facilities to support our customers and the growth of the industry,” said Brad Boswell, CEO of Independent Stave Co. “This new stave mill will be our seventh domestic mill, and an important addition allowing us to expand our supply of high-quality American white oak.”
Independent Stave Co. operates six stave mills and three cooperages – with a fourth cooperage projected to open at the end of 2022 – throughout the U.S. as well as a mill and cooperages overseas. Established in 1912, the company manufactures staves, barrels, and oak alternatives for customers in 40 countries around the world.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Independent Stave Co. to Arkansas,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “As a family-owned company, they embrace the same values of Arkansans—family, innovation, community, and hard work. I am confident they will be a valuable business partner to Batesville and Independence County.”
Arkansas has a wealth of natural resources and raw materials necessary to manufacture cooperage products. A stave is a narrow length of wood with a slightly beveled edge used to make the barrels distillers and winemakers use to age wine, bourbon, whiskey, and other spirits. White oak, which is plentiful in Arkansas, is used in barrel staves because white oak has proven to be the best for crafting a liquid-tight container.
“White oak is just one of the 160 species of hardwoods grown in the state,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “Timber is vital to the Arkansas economy. It contributes slightly more than five percent of our economy and employs more than 27,700 people. With more than 19 million acres of forestland in the state and a workforce that is second to none, I am confident that Independent Stave Company will find the resources they need in Arkansas to continue on the newest path of their journey.”